Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS

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“What does it mean when my teeth are sensitive?”

You’re too sensitive!

It’s not something you love hearing when it’s being said about you, but if it’s something that you think about your teeth as you go through your regular morning routine, it might be time for a trip to your dentist.

When it comes to patients everywhere, sensitivity is a common complaint whether the “complainer” is 7 or 47. Many times, you can chalk your sensitivity up to something as simple as genetics. Other times, it can be the symptom of something more serious.

To learn more about sensitivity and what might be the root cause (no pun intended), read on to learn the 8 top causes of sensitive teeth.

  • You’re Brushing Too Hard. As you grow older, the way you brush your teeth can have a very noticeable impact on your teeth. In fact, one of the most common causes of sensitive teeth is over-brushing. Over time, it’s possible to wear down the outer layer of your teeth to the point where microscopic openings to your tooth’s nerve endings are penetrable by cold liquids or hot foods.  Many times, the result is sensitive teeth. While it’s difficult to reverse this damage, the easiest way to ensure the damage doesn’t progress further is to get a softer toothbrush, and take it easy during brushing.
  • You have excessive plaque. Brushing regularly and keeping up with flossing is essential when it comes to removing plaque from your teeth. If you have too much plaque living on your teeth, this can cause the enamel of your teeth to slowly wear away — this can make them more sensitive (because the enamel is wearing away). To avoid this, make sure you stay on top of your dentist’s recommended daily care and your regular dental visits.
  • You  Grind Your Teeth. Tooth grinders have a bad habit of wearing down the enamel on your teeth. When this occurs, the middle layer of your tooth is exposed. Unfortunately, this layer of the tooth also contains microscopic openings to the nerves, which can lead to pain and discomfort. You might not even realize you grind your teeth, because you’re doing it at night. If you ever wake up with pain or a headache, or if your doctor notices uneven wear on your teeth — she might recommend a night guard to avoid unnecessary damage.
  • The Food you’re eating is too acidic. Let’s say you’ve brushed a little hard on one side of your mouth, and your teeth have become sensitive.  If this has already happened, you might notice that foods with a high degree of acidity can cause pain. These often include tomato sauce, orange juice, lemon, and pickles. If this is the case for you, simply avoid foods that cause problems and use a toothpaste deigned for sensitive teeth.
  • You’re Using Whitening Toothpastes.  Tooth-whitening toothpastes are incredibly common, and rightly so — they work fairly well and help people of all ages keep whiter teeth. Unfortunately, if ou happen to be sensitive to the formula in these toothpastes, they may cause sensitivity. On top of this, if you’re prone to sensitivity, these toothpastes might not be the best choice.
  • Your Gums Need TLC  Brushing too hard or not keeping up with dental hygiene can cause receded gums, which in turn can often cause sensitivity. If this becomes severe, there’s a chance that your dentist recommends a sealing procedure to eliminate discomfort.
  • Your tooth is cracked. If you play contact sports or happened to have an unfortunate fall, there’s a chance you’re suffering form a chipped or cracked tooth. While it might not even be obvious, even a small chip or crack can cause sensitivity. If this is the case for you, there’s a chance that your dentist will recommend a dental filling for any cracks or chips.
  • There is decay around the edges of fillings.Over time, fillings in your teeth can loosen and weaken around the edges. This can also cause acid and plaque build up, which contributes to enamel breakdown and sensitivity.

 

Are you experiencing sensitive teeth? Depending on how severe the problem is, it might be a good idea to talk to your dentist. In our Garden Grove, Ca dental clinic we deal with sensitive teeth nearly every day. Once we see your teeth, we can provide the helpful insights you need to minimize pain and sensitivity.

3 Foods for Healthier Teeth

We’ve already said it once, but it can’t hurt to say again: you only get one set of teeth. With that in mind, we’ve gone from the drinks you should avoid and some foods you should avoid to help ensure that the teeth you were born with stay with you forever.  But it’s not always easy! Life can often get in the way of a perfect oral health routine, and that’s okay.

So you might wonder, “What foods will help reverse damage to my teeth?” (especially when it’s caused by sugar, acid, and other substances) and there are  a few foods you can turn to.

Water

Nobody needs to be told that water is good for you.  In addition to hydrating you and being incredibly good for your body, water also does wonders for your teeth. Like your saliva, water also helps rinse acid and sugar off your teeth to prevent cavities. In addition, water also often contains fluoride, which is in most toothpastes and mouthwash, and helps to actively protect against erosion.

Dairy Products (milk, cheese, and more)

While it’s true that too much of a good thing can often be a bad thing, and too much cheese can and will contribute to weight gain, dairy products like milk and cheese are rich in calcium, which is absolutely vital for the health of your teeth. Calcium is important because it’s a large part of hydroxyapatite, which is a mineral that helps strengthen your bones and the enamel on your teeth.

However, dairy products aren’t just great for their calcium. They also contain casein, a protein, that has been shown to help repair enamel.

Sugar-Free Gum

You might have heard that gum isn’t always the best for you. However, you might be surprised to learn that sugar-free gum can be quite good for you. In fact, sugar-free gum actually helps your teeth by accelerating the creation of saliva.

You might be wondering how saliva can actually help your teeth, and it’s fairly simple. Saliva is actually the most natural way to help wash away the acids, bacteria, and sugar in your mouth. At the same time, your saliva can also wash your teeth in substances like phosphates, calcium, and other additives that help strengthen your teeth and reduce bacteria.

Be careful what you chew, though! Mint flavored sugar-free gum is often a better choice than citrus flavored gums, which often contain small amounts of citric acid to provide flavoring — which can cause some (albeit minor) damage to your teeth.

How to deal with dental stains

If the damage you’re experiencing is manifesting in the form of stains that seem too stubborn to go away, don’t worry! Teeth whitening is also an option.  Here at our dental practice in Garden Grove, we’ve encountered even the most stubborn stains from coffee, tea, wine, smoking, and everything in between. If you have questions about your teeth, we’re here to help.

The Drinks to Avoid for Longer Lasting Teeth

If you saw our last post “3 foods to Avoid for Healthier Teeth” you may be hungry for more. In that post, we discussed 3 of the foods that cause a large amount of enamel wear to your teeth from both sugar and acid.

This time, though, we’ll be focusing less on food that you chew and more on drink. Many times, when you think about the substances your teeth come into contact with you tend to think more about food that you chew. It’s no surprise really, that’s probably because your teeth are made for chewing. However, liquids that come into contact with your teeth can have quite an impact as well.

So why don’t we look at a few of them?

Soda

You probably don’t need to be told that soda isn’t good for your teeth, and that the sugar can contribute to cavities. You might be thinking, “But I drink sugar-free soda so I’m okay, right?”

Wrong again.

You might be surprised to learn that it’s not just the sugar in soda that’s bad for you, it’s actually the acid. Even sugar-free sodas contain the same enamel-eroding acids present in regular sodas.

If soda simply isn’t something you can’t do without, just follow this one tip: drink it with food. Instead of drinking soda by itself, drinking it while your eating allows the food to help counteract the acid and minimize the time your teeth are exposed to the acid.

Sports drinks

It says “Sports” on the bottle and sports are good for you, so that must mean that sports drinks are good for you too, right?

WRONG

While sports drinks might seem appealing if you feel like something fizzy and sweet, the truth is that they aren’t a whole lot better for you than a soda.  Your classic “thirst quenchers” and “energy drinks” that advertise their ability to give you greater energy and endurance are just as acidic and full of sugar as the soda that your dentist already told you to avoid.

In fact, a recent study by the University of Iowa College of Dentistry proved that “sports drinks” like Gatorade and Red Bull caused even more enamel wear than soda. After 25 hours, “enamel lesion depths following beverage exposures were greatest for Gatorade® followed by Red Bull® and Coke® which were greater than Diet Coke® and 100% apple juice”

Wine

Ah wine. For many of us, a nice glass of wine can be the perfect complement to a long day (or an early night).  But chances are, if it’ll stain your white shirt — it will also stain your teeth.

On top of this, wine also contains tannins. Tannins, are an element in wine (and many other substances). In wine, tannins give some of the “dry” flavor, but are also used in substances that have historically been used to give leather it’s dark color — hence the reason the practice is called “tanning”.  Tannins also have a tendency to dry out your mouth and make your teeth sticky, which will worsen the staining process.

Coffee and Tea

If you’re a coffee or tea drinker and you’ve ever noticed stains developing on the inside of your ceramic coffee cup — think about what those drinks can do to your teeth. Many of our in-office teeth whitening patients at our Garden Grove dental practice are avid coffee and tea drinkers, which isn’t surprising.  Think about it. The ceramic of a coffee cup isn’t much different than the enamel of your teeth, and if you’re not careful — the same brown stains can develop on your teeth. Just be sure to brush and drink plenty of water and you’ll be able to ward off stains much more effectively.

Do You Have Questions? We’re here to help

At Primary Dental Care of Garden Grove our dental team has answered practically every question there is when it comes to teeth. If you’re in the Garden Grove or Anaheim area and are curious about your teeth, schedule an appointment with our friendly dental team today. 

3 Foods to Avoid if You want to Save on Your Dental Bill

3-foods-to-watch-healthier-teeth

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of the cure. When it comes to your teeth, this maxim is particularly true. 

You don’t need to be told that you only get one set of teeth. No do-overs, no re-do’s. While you can get dental implants and restorations like fillings, dental bridges and crowns, it’s always more effective and inexpensive to treat your teeth with the utmost care in the first place. To do that, it goes without saying that you should be sure to brush and floss as your dentist recommends. However, eating right is also incredibly important for the long-term health of your teeth. 

As you’ll soon learn, there are a handful of foods you should either avoid or be extra careful about. Some you may even be surprised about.

Candy (Chewy and hard)

When it comes to candy, generally, the stickier it is the worse it is for your teeth. Extra chewy candy, like taffy and caramel can work its way in between your teeth for extended periods of time, providing ample time and nutrients for the bacteria in your mouth to do their work. This is bad for your teeth because bacteria consumes sugar, which creates acid, which gradually wears away the enamel of your teeth to ultimately cause cavities. While some candy won’t hurt, always be sure to enjoy it in moderation, rinse your mouth, and never skip brushing (especially after eating candy). 

While chewy candies tend to be the worst, hard candy isn’t a whole lot better. While chocolates and other soft candies tend to wash away rather quickly, hard candy is much slower to dissolve and gives bacteria a much longer window to go to work on your teeth. 

Fruit (particularly citrus)

They always say, make sure to eat your fruits and vegetables, and they’re not wrong. But don’t forget that citrus fruits, while very good for you in multiple ways, contain a high amount of acid and can contribute to accelerated wear over time. If you frequently drink orange juice with your breakfast, however, don’t worry! While juices like lemon juice and grapefruit juice contain the highest amount of acid, orange juice contains some of the least. You can also buy “low acid” orange juice, as well as fortified orange juice with vitamin D (which is good for your teeth) to help even further.  As always, don’t forget to brush and floss. to help minimize damage. 

Pickles

Would you believe that pickles can cause damage to your teeth? It’s true! The acid in vinegar, which is used to pickle cucumbers (and what gives them their distinct flavor) also happens to make them a prime culprit when it comes to damaging the enamel of your teeth and contributing to cavities. 

While many people love pickles  for their salty and sour taste, it’s been proven that a daily pickle shows a very clear correlation with increased enamel wear by nearly 85%

Curious about how to keep your teeth in tip-top shape? Check back later for even more foods to look out for. 

Here to Help

Here at our Garden Grove dental practice,  our entire dental team has spent years developing the knowledge and expertise needed to keep our patients’ teeth white, bright, and full of life. If you have questions about your teeth and live in the Garden Grove or Anaheim area, visit us anytime. 

Update: check out our new post, “Drinks to Avoid for healthier teeth” for even more  suggestions.